Colorado has retired Ralphie V at the end of this season, AD Rick George announced Tuesday.
Actually, the retirement is already partially in effect because, as The Ringer’s Rodger Sherman pointed out on Twitter, she had become too powerful.
Ralphie turned 13 in October and is in great health; she receives regular veterinarian check-ups. As the season progressed, she just wasn’t having the consistency she had displayed in prior years. With past Ralphies, as they aged, their speed typically decreased; with Ralphie V, she has been so excited to run that she was actually running too fast, which created safety concerns for her and her handlers. She also wasn’t consistently responding to cues from her handlers, and her temperament was such that she was held back from leading the team out for CU’s last two home games against USC and Stanford.
“Ralphie V has served the department and the university well,” George said. “She has been a very special buffalo and has truly been adored by many. We hope she lives for many years to come and look forward to finding her successor.”
Ralphie V, Colorado’s mascot since 2008, will make her last appearance Nov. 23 against Washington, where she will not lead the Buffaloes on to Folsom Field but will appear on the sidelines.
“Ralphie V was our first Ralphie to serve in the age of social media,” Ralphie Program Manager John Graves said. “Thanks to her, we were able to incorporate an educational aspect to the Ralphie Program and hundreds of thousands of fans were able to meet her and learn more about her and buffalo in general, while countless more learned via social media. As one of the biggest and fastest Ralphies, her love for running and power was showcased every home game during her career. It’s almost like she knew she was the queen of campus and she loved to show that fact off when she ran onto the field and at her public appearances.”
Colorado officials are currently reviewing film and making recruiting trips to select Ralphie VI, who will make her debut in 2020.